10:09 AM, 13th August 2019, About 4 years ago 5
All councils that wish to introduce Selective Licensing schemes that cover more than 20% of the area or 20% of the privately rented homes must first seek permission from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG). Stoke-on-Trent have recently had their application refused by MHCLG for a scheme that would cover 3000 properties in 154 street in 14 zones costing £500 for a five year licence per property.
It is not yet clear why MHCLG refused the application with the government response that: “After careful consideration, Stoke-on-Trent’s recent application for a selective licensing designation was not confirmed. The department did not agree that the statutory criteria set out in section 80(9) of the Housing Act 2004 had been fully met. The decision cannot be appealed, but the local authority can reapply”.
A statement from Stoke-on-Trent council said: “We can confirm we have received notification from the government department on this. We are in dialogue with the department about the decision.”
To justify the scheme application the council surveyed over 600 properties in the area indicating that the standard of disrepair was higher than the PRS average. The original application said: ““It is considered that there are no other courses of action which will achieve the objectives of improving housing conditions and management practices as efficiently and effectively as the designation of the 14 proposed areas.”
The RLA raised several concerns at consultation stage including:
“Selective licensing schemes do little but alienate lawful landlords by burdening them with additional costs, while criminal operators continue to ignore regulations and avoid these additional costs. The proposed standard licensing fee of £523, even with the discounts, is an unnecessary financial burden to put on landlords.
“There is little evidence to show that licensing schemes improve housing standards
“The Council already has the necessary tools to tackle poor housing management and conditions in the private rented sector, for example the powers granted to them under the Housing and Planning Act 2016.”